Originally published at Ninja Mack turned down three different contract offers recently
If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.
** Ninja Mack, who has been spotlighted in Game Changer Wrestling and AAA over the last year, guest appeared on the Juice Pro Wrestling podcast. Mack claims to have turned down three contract offers from different promotions and he narrowed his decision down to him liking the way his schedule is and how things are progressing for him as an independent talent. He was also set to work a handful of dates for Pro Wrestling NOAH but the rising COVID cases in Japan prevented him from doing so. Mack believes he’ll be working with NOAH by the end of 2021.
I don’t know if the main goal is to get signed, and not to discourage getting signed because a lot of my friends have been signed. I’ve been offered three contracts from different companies the last two months and I’ve turned them all down and I respectfully turned them down. While I appreciate the opportunity they offered me which was great, but I think the way wrestling is going and the internet is going right now, I can sign and get the views and get to that company but I just didn’t wanna what I have going right now and like I said, if you sign, all of ‘em wanted three years. I can’t commit three years for the amount of money that was being offered at the moment.
So, I would say the main the main goal. I still got more to learn before I feel comfortably signed at that stage and level. I think I’m — not saying I’m not ready, because I’ll take the opportunity and take the chance if it’s right, but I also wanna be ready and I want to present something I can be proud of.
** It was first reported by PWInsider that Evan T. Mack, former co-host of WWE’s The Bump show had departed WWE. Mack has a podcast titled ‘MackMania’ on The Ringer and he spoke about his recent professional transition. He said he’s not jaded or bitter about the situation and credited the online wrestling community for supporting him as he goes through this change.
I’m going through a professional transition. That’s how I put it and I just wanted to take this moment to reflect on certain situations that happen in life, you know what I’m saying? And the situation that was out of my control and no I’m not jaded and no I’m not bitter, those moments have passed. I’m blessed, I’m fortunate, I have my health, I’m grateful to the man above without getting too philosophical, without getting too religious. That’s where I’m at right now but I just wanted to talk to y’all for a second and the wrestling community often gets a bad rap for being too overly critical or too rude or obnoxious or out of line or inappropriate or invasive and sometimes the wrestling community can be all those things and all of the above if not even more. But it’s one thing that I notice about the wrestling community that doesn’t get talked about enough and it’s how they rally around people who are going through a difficult time. That to me is the best thing about any wrestling community. They rally behind the people that they are behind and I’ve been getting like an outpouring of support and well wishes and a lot of sweet, sweet, sweet sentiments coming through social media and online and people are finding a way to get a hold of me to just pat me on the back and tell me things are going to be alright and I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who took time to do that because it means more to me than you’ll ever know. So yeah, shout out to the wrestling community man. Let’s give them their bouquet.
** While speaking to Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Kenny Omega stated that he believes his best in-ring year was 2018. Omega added that he could not have had that good of a year if it weren’t for the people he shared the ring with such as Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii.
To this day, I’m just incredibly appreciative to have accomplished so much with that company Tanahashi, all those guys that I would work with that were able to bring the best out of me and maybe I was able to help bring the best out of them too.
Omega went on to say that he works the Japanese style better than he works the American TV style of wrestling. When he made the transition from the Japanese style to working on TV in the States, he stepped out of his comfort zone.
As difficult as it was to reach that number one spot in 2018 , I had played to my strengths completely in that year. All of those matches, those were in my wheelhouse, that’s what I do best. I do New Japan-style main event matches best. That’s easy for me. Physically, demanding, taxing? Yeah. Grueling? Yes, but, if I were to choose one style that I truly excel in, it was that and in this year, I really stepped outside of my box. I really stepped outside of my own comfort zone.
** Deonna Purrazzo joined Renee Paquette on the Oral Sessions podcast and during their conversation, Purrazzo reflected on her run in NXT. She has expressed in the past that she felt she was not utilized correctly during her time there and recalled getting into arguments with Matt Bloom about that.
You know honestly, it didn’t really feel like anyone else was backing me up so I really had to take that initiative and I think at first you start with the little questions like, ‘What more can I do?’ Or, ‘Did I do something to offend someone or is there rights I need to make?’ Anything, I looked for any reason why this could not be working out and then you’d become frustrated so, I would literally sit in Matt Bloom’s office and we’d be yelling at each other across the table. He would feel one way and I felt the other way and I was just advocating for myself of like, ‘I don’t think you’re seeing it’ and it was simple things of like I went out and spent my own money to have vignettes made outside of the P.C. to pitch this character and by no means is character work my strong suit. Wrestling is my strong suit and I know that.
Purrazzo admitted that part of her wants to get that phone call again from WWE so she can have the satisfaction of them wanting her back. She added that if that were to happen, it is a ‘never say never’ type of situation.
Yeah, I think that was always my goal as a kid . I didn’t know all these other promotions existed. I was a WWE fan. So, for me the goal was always to like be on WrestleMania and be the women’s champion so I think there’s always gonna be part of me that’s like, ‘I wished it turned out differently’ and never say never if there was an opportunity. Maybe I would go but I don’t know. I think that it drives me everyday to like work hard to get that phone call and then be like, ‘Oh me? The difficult one? Mhm, I don’t know. I’m gonna have to think about it.’
To think it’s a driving force for them to want me back, definitely and then I won’t say no because never say never. Sometimes I feel like no, sometimes I feel like f*ck you guys. You had me for so many years, so many years. Even before I was signed, so many years you could’ve done something and I was always put on the backburner and now I’m riding — this last year has been probably the best year of my entire life so, that’s how I feel.
She went on to share that when she was released from WWE, she felt emotionally disconnected from wrestling. Purrazzo was prepared to leave the sport and go back to school to possibly become a history teacher.
I was just kind of emotionally drained from wrestling and you know, we can get into NXT later but that environment and that system just really didn’t work for me as a person and I just very much was like, ‘This is such bullsh*t. This is not what I love about wrestling. This is not — I’m not even wrestling. I come to work and no one has valued me for any of my literal life accomplishments before I got here. What is this worth? What have I done with my life? Was it even worth it up until this point?’ When I was fired, I had contemplated going back to school a whole bunch and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m definitely gonna go back to school’ so I immediately like sent in applications to different schools that were online and I was like, ‘Maybe I’m just gonna be a normal person again.’ So I was in school before wrestling became full-time for Exercise Science and that was just really hard because I didn’t have the time to dedicate to studying and I was also teaching full-time. When I came back, it was kind of like, okay, maybe not Exercise Science but History, which has always been my first love and it comes natural and it’s fun for me. That’s who I am really, is such a big history buff so, when I was released in May, that was the first thing I was like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna go to school and I’m gonna be a history teacher maybe.’ Now I’m about a year out from my Bachelor’s so that’s awesome but, it was kind of like, ‘How do I wanna identify myself outside of wrestling? Is there things that I can love outside of this, as much as I loved wrestling? Because I don’t know if I love it anymore.’ It wasn’t even just wrestling. It was like, ‘I don’t even know that I love me anymore. Who am I?’
Elsewhere during their chat, Purrazzo said she had discussions with Ring of Honor prior to signing with IMPACT Wrestling. She would like to return to Ring of Honor one day and hopes that ROH and IMPACT can work something out.
I would love that and then I was exclusive so I didn’t wanna go back on my word and they didn’t really have a partnership and it wasn’t a world yet when we could be working with all these companies so, the stuff that Ring of Honor was planning would’ve been like two or three months after my contract started and I just didn’t feel in a place to ruffle feathers yet so I said, ‘You know what? Hopefully, bringing it to IMPACT’s attention that Ring of Honor would like to work with me will maybe mend some fences and bring everyone together’ so, in my head, 100 percent there’s a world that I’m wrestling Chelsea Green for the Ring of Honor Women’s Championship. I just hope that IMPACT and Ring of Honor can see that too.
Going back to the topic of NXT, Deonna admitted that character work has not been something she progressed at until her IMPACT run. She said she used to cry in promo class at the Performance Center because she did not like her colleagues staring at her.
That’s a big part of what we do is promos and people wanna see character work and a lot of NXT is based on having these big characters and like the whole package, you know? Going in, I definitely knew this is something I’m gonna need to work on. Promos, I literally would cry in promo class because I didn’t like my peers staring at me and it was just something I needed to work on and I consistently will say I tried to film stuff and do stuff and be in the extra promo booth talking and just trying to show them I’m working on every aspect of me and I’m willing to put in the extra work to try to make this work and even things like that just didn’t work.
She said she lost her passion for wrestling after being let go from WWE. The match that brought that passion back was the Knockouts Title bout against Jordynne Grace at Slammiversary 2020.
I think it was Slammiversary 2020 that I wrestled Jordynne Grace for the Knockouts Championship. That match is probably my number one, my favorite match of my entire career up until this point because I just felt like I went out and I said, ‘F*ck NXT. I hate that place. They didn’t use me. I had so much potential’ and now it was up to me to live up to that. I put such a huge target on my back and I feel like Slammiversary solidified for me what I thought I could do, who I thought I was and I was that person that night and obviously it wasn’t just me, it was Jordynne helping me be that person but I just feel like we have such great chemistry, we are such great friends and we were really able to make the most of me winning that night and that is what helped make me a star.
** The TWC Show welcomed Ariya Daivari onto the podcast. Daivari recalled Corey Graves relaying to the 205 Live roster that he had a conversation with Vince McMahon and got McMahon’s thoughts about 205 Live. Here’s what Graves told the 205 Live roster about that conversation:
I remember Corey Graves came and told all of us that like, ‘Oh, I was on the private jet with Vince and you know, we were talking about 205 Live and he was like God damn, those guys are all such great f*cking workers, great wrestlers’ so we’re all like, ‘Okay cool, he’s into our wrestling. He knows we’re good.’ That’s all your main concern is-is . That’s when the fans — not the fans of 205 but people who didn’t like 205 were like, ‘Ah, nobody’s watching this. These guys must suck’ and I go, ‘No. You just don’t understand that it’s hard to get — we need to be promoted by the company.’
Elsewhere during the chat, Daivari spoke about the first time he interacted with Vince and it was when Vince brought the 205 Live roster into a room to show them the 205 Live intro and give them a pep talk. He also feels that the cruiserweights were thrown into the deep end because there was no NXT preparation for them because they went straight to TV.
I think it was the first episode of 205 Live and Rich Swann were the main event. It was pretty cool to be selected to be on that first episode and then yeah, me and Jack went out there. We had our match and like a lot of people don’t seem to realize this but we were really like thrown in the deep end, you know? There was no — because they wanted 205 Live going right away, there was no full-blown NXT training for us. We just went straight to Monday Night Raw and 205. We were on Monday Night Raw before 205 so by the time 205 came around, I did start feeling kind of comfortable, you know? But those first handful of Raws were just like you’re wrestling in front of Vince McMahon, good luck out there. You’re signed to a contract — eventually, we all got signed to a contract but like I’m signed to a contract but this guy’s never seen me wrestle before. What if you go out there and wrestle and he’s like, ‘Who the f*ck is this guy? Get this guy out of here.’ So we all were just thrown right in the deep end and it worked out really nice.
** D-Von Dudley welcomed Damian Priest onto his Table Talk podcast. The current WWE United States Champion said once his in-ring career is over, he is looking to become a coach or a producer and has talked to Triple H about that transition.
But I’ll be honest, I did find a love for helping people at The with that feeling of creation, you know? And I’ve had talks with Hunter about that too in my time in NXT so that’s definitely something in the future that I hope to do.
Priest recalled Triple H telling him he was going to be paired with Bad Bunny. Priest initially proposed the question of what WWE talent was being named ‘Bad Bunny’ because he did not think Triple H could’ve been referring to the artist.
So first and I’ve said this a few times but it’s just so funny because it really happened. So I’m in NXT. First of all, I just not too long before this, found out that my time in NXT was coming up which I was like, ‘Oh’ and I’m pretty sure Hunter was the one, ‘Hey, so you’re gonna be working with Bad Bunny. You’re gonna be working a program with Bad Bunny.’ In my head, I was just like, ‘How are you gonna name a wrestler Bad Bunny when there’s a Bad Bunny that’s a big deal?’ So I was like, ‘What wrestler is gonna be named Bad Bunny?’ You know, like what? And then he’s like, ‘No, that is the Bad Bunny. It’s the musician’ and I was like, ‘Oh that’s cool,’ because he’s a big deal. I know he’s a big deal, you know? So I was like, ‘Oh man’ but yes, there was that, ‘Oh wow,’ but this is like a really big deal and I’m the one that got chose to work side by side with him and I’m gonna help train him and do all this stuff and it was kind of like one of those things where oh man, if I mess up, I’m screwed huh? Like nobody needs to tell me that, I get it.
** Renee Paquette announced that she is joining SiriusXM and will be co-hosting a show alongside former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate. Paquette is also going to be a contributor for Busted Open Radio with Dave LaGreca, Mark Henry, Tommy Dreamer and Bully Ray.
** The most recent guest on the Straight Shooting podcast was Mark Sterling, manager to Jade Cargill in AEW. Sterling shared that it was MJF who got him started in AEW after the company was looking to involve a ‘lawyer’ in Jon Moxley and MJF’s feud.
But I wanted to help everybody and I wanted to help Max is. Matt has some technical savvy to him but, anyways, just helping Max for years and we did an act in CZW together where I was his lawyer and it was just supposed to be a one-off. I was a wrestler, but I have grey hair so he brought me into CZW when CZW was a little more notable, as his lawyer and then we did that act for I wanna say a year and it was pretty cool. It was a fun act that led to a couple cool matches and they had a storyline in AEW and they had a lawyer written in and Max just said, ‘Well I know the perfect guy’ and they were like, ‘Well let’s bring him in.’ So, did that, it went well and then they had this idea for me.
** Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards welcomed Fuego Del Sol onto the AEW Unrestricted podcast. It is well known that Fuego has a close relationship with Sammy Guevara. Sammy helped Fuego get bookings with AEW in exchange for Fuego helping Sammy grow his YouTube channel.
Yeah, I feel 100 percent that — that’s also how me and Sammy time to repay for me that, he got me booked on AEW Dark and it’s a full circle thing but we developed that friendship way back in 2016 and so, without YouTube, none of this would’ve ever happened for me.
Fuego was offered an AEW contract after his match against Miro on the first episode of Rampage. He did not know it was going to happen but said there were signs throughout the day that hinted at what was to come. He also understands why it took AEW so long to sign him and thinks it’s because AEW wanted to make sure if they invested in him, it would pay off.
Listen, there was a ton of signs all day investment and I feel like there was a lot of things up in the air with no fans. Was I just liked by the Jacksonville audience? Was I just liked by this internet audience? Or was I liked by everyone? And I feel like slowly but surely I was able to prove that and the fans kind of won management over in a sense for me.
Aubrey Edwards chimed in and recalled being told that Fuego was getting signed. She was standing near him and had to walk away because she got emotional and did not want to give away the surprise.
I remember finding out just like, ‘Yeah, we’re giving him a contract after’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’ And I immediately started crying and I look over and you’re standing there and I like vanished because I didn’t want you to see me crying and like think anything and then I’m sitting there in the commercial break like, ‘He has to know. Why would someone lay there for two-and-a-half minutes and not think this is going to be happening?’
** Sports Illustrated spoke to Paul Heyman ahead of WWE SmackDown at Madison Square Garden. Heyman reflected on the show WWE presented following the 9/11 attacks. During that broadcast, Heyman opened up about his upbringing in New York and how much the state means to him. He remembered Vince McMahon telling him what he said was great, but now it’s time to entertain those watching at home.
I can’t tell you one match that happened on that show. All I remember is the bolt that went through my system when I heard Lilian sing, which reminded me I had an obligation to deliver. Then I heard Jim Ross say, ‘Just follow my lead, kid, and you’ll be fine,’ which is the same thing he’d said to me during my first broadcast on Raw. Afterward, I can still remember Vince McMahon in my headset saying, ‘That was great. Now it’s time to entertain.’ From that point on, I hope J.R. and I did justice to the job for which we were tasked, but I don’t remember doing it all.
** Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp conducted an interview with Damian Priest. Priest was asked about his interactions with Vince McMahon and said they’ve all been positive.
Positive, to be honest. He’s somebody that knows what he wants for his show. He knows what he wants out of you. He’s been honest with me and the whole time he’s been like, ‘I need more of this, I need more of that, or less of this.’ But, it’s always positive. He’ll explain to me why. It’s always like, ‘Oh, I get it.’ He has a way of speaking to people that if you don’t get it after he talks to you, you shouldn’t be here. So, my interactions with him has actually been very positive. He seems like he likes me, so that’s a good thing.
McMahon is known for trying to grapple with certain talents but that has not happened with Priest yet, though McMahon has gotten somewhat aggressive while explaining things.
He hasn’t tried to wrestle me. He’s grabbed me a few times while he’s explaining stuff and I’m like, ‘Whoa. Take it easy, man. Like, I gotta go perform. You don’t hurt me now.’
** The most recent guest on Tommy Dreamer’s House Of Hardcore podcast was IMPACT Wrestling’s Jessicka Havok. She expressed that her trainer Kevin Ballew, also known in wrestling as ‘Shasta’, held her and others back from opportunities. She said she could recall a handful of times when he made promises that were never followed up on, like him saying he’d get her a match with Kia Stevens (Awesome Kong).
So for the first few years, I feel like Kevin was — he did. He definitely held a handful of us back and he would, you know, he had the devil’s tongue. He would tell you what you wanted to hear. ‘I’m gonna put you over. I’m gonna book you in my big show this year and I’m gonna bring in so and so for you.’ You don’t know how many times he promised me Awesome Kong and it never happened and like, I always got thrown into some stupid intergender match where it was like I had two spots and had to — not that I — I love intergender wrestling but I’m just saying, at that time, it was like the matches that I needed, what he was giving me wasn’t beneficial to my career so it was like I need to have good matches with good women who are better than me so I could learn from them and you’re just throwing me in here with these guys. I’m not getting better. I need to like — so, against his better judgement, he really, really hated that I started taking bookings at a lot of other places.
** Mickie James returned to the Battleground Podcast and reflected on NWA EmPowerrr. She expressed her gratitude to all who contributed to that show coming together and specifically credited Jazz, Gail Kim and Madusa for their help behind the scenes.
The energy when we got there , it was just — every woman on that show came to go to work and came to prove a point and they did. Every single female, like they delivered, they over delivered, they shocked the world. There wasn’t a match — every single match built and built and built and built and there wasn’t a match where one time I was like, ‘Eh,’ you know? Everything, top to bottom, they killed it. They absolutely killed it and if I was to take my hat off for any particular women and specifically I would say I could not have done this event without Jazz, without Madusa and without Gail Kim because in the midst of me running from the truck to the monitors to Gorilla to out in the crowd to hear the people because I had to go out in the crowd… because I wanted to be out there for specific moments. One moment in particular, the Awesome Kong and Gail Kim moment. I wanted to be out in the crowd and hear that.
** During episode 29 of Matt Cardona and Mark Sterling’s MC! True Long Island Story Podcast, there was a ‘whtsNXT’/POST Wrestling shoutout. whtsNXT was the name of the NXT review when it was a part of LAW. It is now called ‘upNXT’.
** The Usos are defending the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) on the 9/10 SmackDown.
** Yahoo! News profiled Zelina Vega ahead of her doing the honors of reading the names of those who lost their lives on 9/11.
** Paul Heyman chatted with Peter Rosenberg and Laura Stylez on Hot 97. He said he will be addressing the Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar situation on the 9/10 SmackDown at Madison Square Garden. Lesnar is scheduled to appear on the show.
** NJPW1972.com ran their interview with Lance Archer. He told the site that he does plan on returning to Japan to play a bigger role in Suzuki-gun.
** Big Damo, the former ‘Killian Dain’ appeared on ‘Teasy’s Table’.
** The Awakening (Big Kon & Vik) joined the ‘Chair Shots to the Cranium’ show.
** The PKDX site has an interview with Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Kotaro Suzuki.
** WrestleZone spoke to Mojo Rawley.
** Brian Pillman Jr. turned 28 years old on 9/9.
If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.